Healthy Weight Loss: Set Specific, Achievable, Livable Goals
Losing weight isn't easy. But you can make weight loss easier by setting realistic goals that you can live with. Willpower alone may let someone restrict their eating for a certain amount of time and lose weight. The problem comes when they try to maintain that new weight.
Restrictive diets are tough to maintain on a long-term basis, and the lost weight is likely to come back. In the long run, it's more helpful to aim for a smaller, more realistic number, like a loss of 10 pounds, to start. Then put your focus on making healthy changes in your eating and activity habits.
Try these healthy weight loss goals on for size. Which goals fit your lifestyle?
- I'll eat whole-grain cereal and skim milk instead of a muffin for breakfast four days a week.
- I'll plan before eating out by looking at the menu online and deciding ahead of time what to order.
- I'll eat blueberries and non-fat yogurt instead of ice cream four nights a week.
- I'll use the "Plate Method" to help manage my portions. Non-starchy vegetables and fruits go on half the plate, starchy foods such as brown rice go on 1/4 of the plate, and lean proteins such as skinless poultry, fish, and lean meat goes on the other 1/4th.
- I'll write down everything I eat for 2 weeks.
Weight Loss and Fitness: Set Realistic Activity Goals
Being active every day will help you control blood sugar levels and improve your energy level, overall mood, and physical endurance. Moving your body every day will also help you keep off excess weight. Consider these specific, achievable, livable activity goals:
- I will walk around the neighborhood after dinner for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
- I will get off the bus two stops early and walk the rest of the way to work.
- I will sign up for the Tuesday night low-impact aerobics class at the local gym.
- I will track my activity every day by writing it on my personal calendar.
To make your own list of goals, think about what will work for you. Be specific about when, where, and how you can reach each goal. It's fine to start slow and build up to 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
Add variety to your activity plan by putting together a combination of activities you can do throughout the week. Experts recommend a combination of aerobic activities and strength-training exercises. Aerobic exercise could include walking, climbing stairs, dancing, or swimming. Strength training uses weights or exercise bands to strengthen muscles and should be included in your exercise routine at least 2-3 days a week. Ask your doctor before you start an exercise program to make sure it's safe for you.